16:33 GMT06 April 2020
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    RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan commented on the hearing on the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) where Senator Amy Klobuchar questioned RT's exemption from the act.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Klobuchar asked Deputy Assistant Attorney General Adam Hickey why RT did not have to register under FARA as a foreign agent. The senator referred to the intelligence agencies' January report that stated that news outlets were involved in alleged Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election. Klobuchar suggested that the act may need to be updated to avoid similar situations at future elections.

    "US Senators' main pastime is telling one another scary stories about RT. They should consider fishing instead," Simonyan told Sputnik.

    FARA dictates that all agents publishing informational materials in the United States on behalf of foreign principals should register. Such agents would then have to add a visible statement of affiliation to their platforms, including websites and social media. The legislation does not include news or press agencies and associations as long as they are at least 80 percent owned by citizens of the United States and are not "owned, directed, supervised, controlled, subsidized, or financed, and none of its policies are determined by any foreign principal defined" in the text of the legislation. Besides, the exemptions include organizations engaged in "bona fide news or journalistic activities."

    In June, US Congressmen David Cicilline and Matthew Gaetz introduced the Foreign Agents Registration Modernization and Enforcement Act that targets foreign media outlets like RT. Cecilline said in a statement the new legislation would provide the Justice Department with increased investigative authority to identify and prosecute entities that allegedly seek to unlawfully influence the US political process.

    Russian media outlets broadcasting in Europe and the United States have been facing a barrage of accusations by Western officials about allegedly spreading fake news and attempting to influence public life.

    In January, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and National Security Agency (NSA) released a report accusing Russia of meddling in last year's US presidential election. The report did not provide any proof, citing confidentiality protocols, while its significant part was focused on RT and Sputnik. Russian President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and other senior officials have repeatedly stated that Moscow refrains from meddling in internal affairs of foreign countries.

    In November 2016, the European Parliament voted in favor of a resolution, which said that Sputnik and RT posed a danger to Europe's unity and called for extra European Commission funding for counter-propaganda projects. It also drew a parallel between the Russian media and the propaganda disseminated by Daesh, a terrorist group outlawed in Russia and numerous other states.


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